Do you struggle with decision making? All of us do from time to time, though some find it more difficult than others. Thankfully, there are tricks and tools you can use to help you come to a conclusion. Here’s what to do when you just can’t seem to make a decision.
Weigh The Pros And Cons
For bigger decisions, this is your best option, though you can use it at any time. You don’t need to sit there with a pen and paper writing down the pros and cons of what to eat for dinner, but if you’re making a choice that will impact your life, such as deciding which location to move to or if you should take a new job or stay at your old one, you’re probably pretty anxious and want to weigh the pros and con as effectively as possible. Many people find that it is most useful to write the pros and cons on paper in the form of a list. This way, you have a visual representation of the pros and cons of each choice and can look at them to determine which ones are of the most value to you.
The Coin Toss Test
The coin toss test will help you gain perspective, whether the decision at hand is big or small. You don’t actually need a coin to use this technique. The coin toss test is where you pretend each option related to your decision is heads or tails on a coin and pretend that you’re flipping the coin to make your choice. If you have a strong reaction on either side, it’s meant to give you insight into making your decision. So, if you’re deciding between moving to California or Wisconsin, and you pretend that California is “heads” and Wisconsin is “tails,” gauge your reaction to the outcome if you were to toss a coin and saw that it landed on either side. If the coin landed on Wisconsin, how would you feel? Do you have a strong reaction such as, “no, all of my family is in California,” or “no, the accessibility of the area I’d live in, in California is so much better”? What about vice versa? If the coin lands on California, what thoughts come up? Your reaction could be, “but, Wisconsin has better housing prices.” Then, you can look at what matters to you the most.
The coin toss test helps you to identify the most impactful elements of each decision. If you only have a strong negative reaction to one side of the coin, or if one of the ideas of it landing on a particular side prompts a thought or outcome so strong that it makes you favor one choice over the other, you’ll be able to make your ultimate choice based on that. The coin toss test is an excellent option when weighing the pros and cons doesn’t work because imagining that the decision is being made for you gives you a new perspective on how you truly feel about each outcome.
Think Of The Long-Term Outcome
Thinking about the long-term outcome of a decision can not only help you to make a choice that you’re proud of, but it can also help you to put things in perspective. Some choices, you’ll realize, won’t affect your life long-term even if they seem like a big deal at the moment. Others will make an impact on your life long-term, and you may want to consider how your decisions will affect yourself and, if you have children or a partner, your family, so that you can see what option is the most advantageous. It’s also important to remember that with most decisions, the final outcome will be okay. Yes, the choices you make shape and impact your life, but you will have more chances to make decisions in the future, and most of them aren’t the end of the world. If you’re struggling to choose, it’s likely that there are benefits to both options and that neither outcome will be so earth-shattering that you won’t be able to come up from it.
Think About Why It’s Hard For You To Make Decisions
Whether you struggle with decision making in general or are only struggling to make one specific decision, it can be helpful to look at why it’s so difficult to make a choice. If you identify external influences that aren’t serving you, such as what people will think of you, it might help you work through that worry so that you can have what you really want. On the other hand, some people struggle to make most or all decisions on their own, and there are a variety of reasons why this could be. First, anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), can provoke worry and rumination, which makes decision-making more challenging. It could also be that a history of codependency or enmeshment with others made it hard for you to make your own choices or get in touch with what you truly desire.
Anytime you make a decision, no matter what step in the decision-making process you’re at, think about why it is tough for you to make this choice. Sometimes it will just be a particularly difficult selection to make, regardless of the reason why. Other times, you’ll find that other people are influencing your thoughts when they don’t have anything to do with the decision at the end of the day. If any of your reactions during the decision-making process are, “but what will my parents think? or “but what people from high school think?” it might be that external influences are impacting your ability to make choices that will make you happy and that are the best for you. This is absolutely something to think about because, at the end of the day, you are the one that is going to live your life. Think about the people, including yourself, who will be impacted by this decision, not the people judging it from the outside.
If you struggle with decision-making, relationships, mental health, or if you want to talk about anything else going on in life, counseling is an excellent place to go for support. In counseling, you can work on developing decision-making skills further, talk through your choices and strive to come to a conclusion on your own with the support of a counselor, and work through anything that might be impacting your ability to make your own choices. It’s very normal for people to worry what others will think of them, but it is something that can be detrimental, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, if you have a mental health condition or think that you might, having support is crucial, and regardless, having an objective third party to talk to can be very helpful when it comes to decision-making. Reach out to a counselor in your local area, or see a licensed provider online through a website like BetterHelp. If you’re considering online counseling and want to read reviews, TrustPilot is one place to check them out. BetterHelp provides counseling for couples and individuals, and it’s an affordable, convenient way to get mental health care from the privacy of your own home.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics.
Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.